NZ Kicks Out US Diplomat After Unexplained Incident

US refused to waive immunity
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2017 3:25 AM CDT
Updated Mar 20, 2017 5:15 AM CDT
New Zealand Kicks Out American Diplomat
The US Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand.   (Vardion/Wikimedia Commons)

An American diplomat has been kicked out of New Zealand, taking a black eye and a broken nose with him and leaving a lot of questions behind. New Zealand asked the US to remove the man, an embassy staff member, after the embassy refused to waive diplomatic immunity when he was wanted for police questioning, the BBC reports. Police said they wanted to speak to the man after an incident in which they were called to a home outside Wellington on March 12 and found that he had already left, apparently with facial injuries, reports TVNZ, which identifies the embassy staff member as Chris White.

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English says he doesn't know why the US refused to waive immunity for the man, the New Zealand Herald reports. "We expect all diplomats here to obey our law, and if it is broken we would expect our police to investigate," he told reporters Monday. "There are a set of procedures around how these things are dealt with diplomats. We regret they didn't give us a waiver on immunity, but they didn't." He added he doesn't know if the failure to waive immunity was the result of a new Trump administration policy. The US embassy wouldn't comment on specifics but said it takes "seriously any suggestion that our staff have fallen short of the high standards of conduct expected of US government personnel." (More New Zealand stories.)

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